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Interim coach Sutherland wants back-to-back wins to round off Greens' season

By Gordon Calder

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CAITHNESS are targeting back-to-back home wins to round off the season and consolidate their mid-table position in their first year in National League Division Three.

The Greens take on Perthshire at Millbank this Saturday, then St Boswells on April 6. Perthshire are sitting ninth, one place below Caithness, while St Boswells are second bottom of the 12-team division.

Interim coach George Sutherland is keen to secure victories to finish the campaign on a high note but will be without some key players due to injuries and work commitments.

The latest casualty is hooker Callum Hill, who suffered a dislocated ankle and broken shin and had to be airlifted to hospital during the game against leaders Gordonians at Millbank earlier this month. He is unlikely to be back before the end of next season.

Grant Anderson wins a line-out for the Greens in the recent clash with Gordonians at Millbank. Picture: James Gunn
Grant Anderson wins a line-out for the Greens in the recent clash with Gordonians at Millbank. Picture: James Gunn

Sutherland, who has returned to his native Caithness after 10 years in Australia, where he played rugby and was a coach, said: "We have had a few injuries, and some guys are not available as they are working offshore, but we are still looking to get a win against Perthshire. It is a big difference playing at home."

He has made a few tactical changes to the team, especially in defence. "We have the same players but in different positions and have added a new line-out which worked well last Saturday," he said.

Sutherland was pleased with how the team played in the second half against West of Scotland at Milngavie at the weekend.

"We were 31-7 down at the interval but, like Scotland did against England, we came back and were 31-21 behind with 20 minutes to play. But we made one slip and gave away a soft try and they were then 38-21 up.

The game ended 38-28 but we were on top right up to the end and will take some confidence from that into this weekend's match."

Sutherland wants the Greens to end the season in a good position.

"I have only been involved for three games but I think at the start of the season the boys would have been happy to finish mid-table in their first year in this league," he said. "I would like to consolidate our position in the league and be competitive.

"We have let a few games get away from us but will learn lessons from that and take that on board into next season."

Sutherland, who would like the coaching post on a permanent basis, is keen to establish a second-grade team and maintain links he established with his former team Palmyra in Western Australia. He is hoping to get young players and students over on a three-month trip.

The season down under finishes in September and starts here at that time so there would be no overlap.

"The idea would be to give them a cultural experience, sample Scottish rugby and boost the club that way," he said.

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